Today, the Senate appears ready pass legislation that would finally ban workplace discrimination against gays, lesbians, and the transgendered. Because it's 2013, and there are still 29 states where it is entirely legal to fire someone for their sexual preference. Crazy, right? You can't fire anyone for being black, or a woman, or a Hindu. But you can can send them packing based on whom they date.
Unfortunately, the Workplace Nondiscrimination Act looks good as dead in the House, where Speaker John Boehner has already voiced his opposition with a bit of anti-regulatory boilerplate. “The Speaker believes this legislation will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small business jobs,” his spokesman told the press. Generic as the statement might be, though, it's also a bit ironic. The one thing that that reasoned opponents and supporters of the bill both seem to agree on is that, no, it probably won't cause many lawsuits.
How do they know? Because in the 21 states (along with the District of Columbia) that have passed legislation protecting gays and lesbians in the workplace, there's only been a trickle of litigation. That's according to the Government Accountability Office, which analyzed data from 2007 to 2012. In California, for instance, 19,839 employment discrimination complaints were filed in 2012. Only 1,104 involved sexual orientation.